Dec 31, 2012 6:30am PST
. lloyd: what epa said to us was, "you can have an exemption from filtration "if you keep this undeveloped, "and if you can manage the wastewater so that it does not pollute your water supply." and we feel that we've reached the point where we can really keep it clean enough to drink unfiltered for the indefinite future. and new york city is in a small club of cities that actually have that filtration avoidance waiver. narrator: while municipalities are responsible for maintaining systems and source supply, the standards that protect water are established at the federal level. there are two important pieces of federal legislation that were both enacted in the early to mid-1970s. the first was the clean water act, which acts to protect rivers and lakes, and sources of drinking water. the second was the safe drinking water act, that provides federal standards to assure the safety of the water that we drink. both acts have been amended since they were first adopted, and they're both cornerstones for the water issues that we face in america today. allbee: the clean water act set a floor and ba
Dec 3, 2012 6:30am PST
of the clean water act. we have to advance the cause. that is the big challenge ahead of us. you just don't think of raw sewage in waterways in a developed country, and yet, that's what we have, and not just in pittsburgh, but all over. narrator: pittsburgh is situated at the confluence of the allegheny, monongahela, and ohio rivers. these three rivers are vital for industry, recreation, and drinking water. and each year, billions of gallons of combined sewer overflows discharge directly into those rivers. hecht: we're now having to face the consequences of the choice that was made to put in combined sewer systems. narrator: in 1994, the government adopted a combined sewer overflow policy to reduce csos nationwide. cities with combined sewer overflows now face an enforcement action called a consent decree. under a consent decree, a city must reduce pollution levels significantly within a strict time frame or face heavy fines. in 1960, the combined sewer overflows were a perfectly legitimate way of dealing with sewers. woman: the mind set was that, what did it matter if we were sending our
Dec 22, 2012 8:30am PST
city in the u.s. and over 40 million tourists visit the city every year. the 1.3 billion gallons of water required every day are delivered by a system of extraordinary scale and complex engineering. man: water is essential to the economic viability of new york city. reliable infrastructure and reliable delivery of water is a must. you have to reinvest in the infrastructure every single minute to keep it current. hurwitz: we have the stock exchange, we have the united nations -- failure can have a dramatic impact on the nation, and even internationally. so there's a really keen awareness that you always have to be fixing the system. things corrode, they rust. they get to where you turn them on and nothing happens. but it is so totally used in every nook and cranny, that making any accommodation to shut it down, to do something to it, is very difficult. narrator: two massive underground tunnels, called simply tunnel 1 and tunnel 2, provide most of the city's water supply. they run hundreds of feet below manhattan, far deeper than the subways. built at the beginning of the 20th cent
Dec 15, 2012 8:30am PST
to where you turn them on and nothing happens. but it is so totally used in every nook and cranny, that making any accommodation to shut it down, to do something to it, is very difficult. narrator: two massive underground tunnels, called simply tunnel 1 and tunnel 2, provide most of the city's water supply. they run hundreds of feet below manhattan, far deeper than the subways. built at the beginning of the 20th century, they are concrete-lined and bored through solid rock. they could last centuries. but the mechanical equipment within them will not. engineers in the 1950s discovered rust on the tunnel's valves. there were concerns that if they closed the valves for tunnel inspections, they may never open again, leaving new york city without water. so they chose to keep them open. as a result, there has not been significant inspection, maintenance, or repair of the tunnels in decades. no one knows their current condition. hurwitz: currently, city tunnel 1 and city tunnel number 2 would be feeding each half of the city. so you'd lose half the city if you didn't have a replacement.